By Laura Stabbert
COCHECTON “It was a dream and I never stopped believing in it,” said Phil Nicoletti, Cochecton native and professional motocross racer.
By age 22 Nicoletti has done what few accomplish, made a living by becoming a professional athlete.
Nicoletti took a leap into the professional realm of motocross three years ago where he is continuing to earn success.
He returned home this summer from a six-month stay in Australia where he placed 3rd in the 2011 Australian Motocross Championships.
Nicoletti said it took about two months to adjust to Australia.
“The Australian guys were quick and they knew their tracks,” said Nicoletti who was a foreigner ‘Down Under’.
“I had to get acclimated to a brand new bike, new country, new people and a new home.”
Nicoletti is used to obstacles, remembering back to when many people doubted his dream of becoming a professional dirt bike racer.
True to character, Nicoletti proved them wrong. After 9 rounds Nicoletti won third place.
Nicoletti is an endurance athlete. He rides every other day and on ‘off days’ he diligently trains three times a day.
What does he do to relax and take a break from the vigorous training?
“I go cycling, I went on a two-hour bike ride today.”
Nicoletti is a “Monster Athlete,” sponsored by Monster Energy Kawasaki. You can tell by looking at him he takes his sport very seriously, putting his body through whatever it takes to compete on such an elite level.
Nicoletti got his first bike when he was 4 years old for Christmas and started his career at age 5.
The sport is not for the faint of heart, Nicoletti placed second and third in the nation many times as an amateur, but those titles did not come without dedication. The athlete suffered many injuries, remembering back to when he was little.
“I had just gotten my big teeth in, and I knocked every one out, I remember my dad said open your mouth and his eyes were like ‘oh wow’!”
Nicoletti also shattered his femur above the knee which cost him 9 months of rehab.
He looked down and laughed as he remembered back to all the bumps and bruises he has had along the way of establishing his career.
“There is always a risk, my favorite part of the sport is the adrenaline.”
As a professional Nicoletti continues to make headlines, placing eighth in the nation on the professional level in the Supercross series last year.
He is currently negotiating his next move, he may go back this month to race again in Australia. In February Nicoletti will definitely be ‘Down Under’ competing in the Motocross Nationals.
Nicoletti is the oldest of five and hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
“If it wasn’t for my dad and mom [Phil and Sue Nicoletti of Cochecton] this never would have been possible.”
Nicoletti had his truck packed preparing to bring his sister Regina off to her freshman year of college.
“I love it here, they say every road leads back to home.”